In the last post, Tips For Companies & PR Doing Blogger Outreach Part 1, were my first few general tips for PR reaching out to bloggers. Some tips are more specific to PR wanting bloggers to do reviews, sponsored posts, or more. I have heard some stories recently that made me cringe, or I have experienced them myself. Below is a list specific to blogger pitches for reviews or sponsored posts.
- Don’t insult us by telling us that you have no budget for sponsored posts: While this may be true, if you are a PR firm working for a company and doing PR, you are being paid, right? You are being paid to do blogger outreach. You are getting a paycheck. How would you like it if that company asked you if you would do blogger outreach for free out of the kindness of your heart? Of course there are exceptions like social good causes. But sending us a request for what is basically a sponsored post is advertising.
- Don’t ask us to post multiple posts on your blog for free: I have had it happen to me over the past year, and I heard the same from a couple of friends… a large company sends an email that starts out talking about how much they love my blog and my writing, and they think it would be awesome for us to collaborate and they want me to write for their site. I write back and express interest and ask for more details. Eventually it comes out that they want 1-2 blog posts per month, or in extreme cases per week (FOR FREE). One company even asked a friend to provide 3 posts per week. Ok, it is ok to ask for 1 or 2 guest posts total. We might just do that. But asking for multiple posts per month? That much writing is a JOB. Most folks don’t have time to do that for free. And we don’t want to do it in exchange for a link to your microblog either. A lot of us are beyond doing things for exposure. We are trying to pay the bills. This is especially true for those of us (ME) that have turned our blogs into a business and we no longer work a 9-5 job. The blog generates our ONLY income. We would not go to work for free, so we will not do it on your blog either.
- When emailing us a pitch lay out all of the terms CLEARLY: If asking the blogger to do a product review, lay out ALL the important terms from the start. If you are offering the product only as a trial and you expect it to be returned PUT THAT IN THE FIRST EMAIL. A lot of bloggers, myself included will pass if we have to return the product, with a few exceptions. 3 or 4 times over the past year I have received a product for review, loved it, used it… got used to it, and in one case I gave it to a friend that needed it. And then what happened??? I got an email from the PR rep attaching a return address label for me to send it back. In ALL cases I went back through all of our email exchanges and NOWHERE did it state the product would need to be returned. I even had someone pitch me some earbuds that would have had to be returned. Can you say eww? It amazes me how some companies will send out a product worth $1000, or even more and we get to keep it, while others want something worth $80 returned.
- Why don’t we like to return products? Well first because it takes time to package it up and send it back. Although yes… we get the content for our blog, what are we really getting out of if? If we get to keep the cool new gadget for 2 weeks, fall in love with it, write about it, and send it back… what then? Plus depending on what it is 2 weeks might not be long enough to determine if we like it. This is especially troublesome since most of us do not charge for product reviews. The product pretty much becomes the payment. One of my blogger friends said that she was going to start telling PR that the post (aka the ad) would stay on her blog only as long as the product was in her possession. I think that is funny, but it is something to think about. Some make the argument that journalists that work for newspapers or large websites don’t get to keep the products. However, those that work for *real* sites also get steady paychecks. They are paid direct by their company for seeking out and providing content for their magazines, newspapers, or sites. However, a blogger’s income only comes from what we generate from pitches, ads, and sponsored posts, etc. If you take the product back, basically we have given you free advertising.
- If you need the post or review done by a certain date TELL US: Although we try hard, some of us are VERY busy. My to do list would probably make you cry. While our blog terms may say that we try to get all reviews done in 2-3 weeks, it also says that this might not always happen. When I get an item to review it goes to the END of my list. It does not immediately become the next thing that I do. You have to realize that you are not the only PR rep contacting us. However, if you just ask or tell us that your campaign closes on X date we can then work to add it to our editorial calendar to make it happen.
These were just some things that I needed to get off my chest. PR… we love you. If it were not for you, we would not make much money would we? I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do. However, yes… there are a few lessons to be learned. Of course every tip does not fit every situation… hopefully it helps some out there. Any bloggers have anything to add?
Don’t forget to check out the first post, Tips For Companies & PR Doing Blogger Outreach Part 1